INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens mystified by opposition to Matrimonial Bill

Published: Wed 24 May 2000 10:04 AM
Green MP Sue Kedgley said she was mystified by the attacks of the National Party, New Zealand First and Act against the new economic disadvantage provisions of the Matrimonial Property Amendment bill.
"I would have thought the National party, which claims it wants to strengthen and support families, and full-time mothers, would strongly support these provisions in the bill."
Ms Kedgley said she was "appalled at the poor opinion these members have of women, and their 1950's attitude that all women are gold diggers."
Economic disadvantage provisions in the Matrimonial Property Amendment bill are needed to give redress to the many thousands of parents, mainly women, who devote years to unpaid full-time parenting of their children, and who are disadvantaged under the present provisions of the Matrimonial Property Act, she said.
"The heart of the problem is that when parents look after their own children, they receive no remuneration," she said.
"Studies show that a parent who has been looking after children on a full or part-time basis are often financially worse off after divorce, while the partner who has been in the paid workforce is financially better off. Those who take time out to care for children often find it difficult to re-enter the workforce and may require further training and upskilling."
This means that when partners split up, the partner who has been parenting full or part-time may not be fairly compensated for in a straight fifty-fifty division of property," she said.
The law seeks to remedy this situation by providing Courts the flexibility to recognise this situation in divorce settlements.
"The proposed bill will help protect parents, mostly mothers, who are penalised under present arrangements."
Ends

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